Industrial Helix wrote:Alright, now that you're in the gameplay workshop I'm gonna offer my criticism of the gameplay. Don't get me wrong, I like the map idea, but the gameplay has some facets that rub me the wrong way.
The biggest thing is the terrorists. Why are they attacking refineries? On 9/11 bin Laden didn't target America's oil supply, Al Queda didn't bomb a tanker but the U.S.S. Cole and groups like the PKK, Hamas and the Uryghurs in China aren't angry about oil, its the government's (ie captials) that they fight against. Bombing BP or Shell doesn't create terror but attacking cities and populations does. For the terrorists to attack refineries seems out of line with the real world situation. The solution I propose is to have them bombard or attack metropolis' or capitals.
First, this is not an Al Queda / Bin Laden game. It's about the struggle for oil. Just look at what is happening in Nigeria, with pipelines being blown and oil diverted by insurgent groups. Remember what happened to the Kuwaiti refineries in Gulf 1? And the instability all over Central Asia, from Kurdistan all the way to Western China? This game is not supposed to reflect what has already happened, but what could easily happen and has alrready began to: systematic distruption in the supply of oil and gas as a weapon of terror. This would undermine entire economies, send prices though the roof, etc. So the emphasis is on possible future events, not past or present ones. I hope you can appreciate the different perspective and accept it as equally plausible It may not be exactly how you would do it, but it's a possible future vision, and therefore equally valid.
I think the Oil Refineries will stand nicely on their own with the bonuses they already get and dealing with standard attacks from other provinces (alternatively, capitals could one way attack or bombard refineries in their country, simulating nationalization and government's power over business in each respective country).
The next biggest complaint I have regard the unrest territories... who would ever attack those? Those territories essentially serve as standard territories and their -2 per round will never come into play given that this is a conquest style map. There is no incentive to conquer and hold those territories. The solution I propose is to give a regional bonus and an incentive for players to capture their home country. This will make the unrest zones an important part to player's strategy and reflect the difficulty and incentive that governments have to keep the breakaway provinces under their rule. Kashmir and Arunachal would work better as amplifiers to the India, China or Pakistan bonuses this way as well.
Yes, I've already thought about this and worked out the numbers, with the Excel spreadsheet, and trying not to unbalance the game too much. The result is as follows:
Eastern Europe 2, Russia 4, Kazachstan 4, Caucasus 1, Central Asia 2, China 3, India 3, Afpak 3, Iran 3, Turkey 1, Middle East 1.
The above suggestions create problems for the current territory borders, which can be addressed once a course of action is decided upon by you two.
My next big criticism is that the central asian objective is a bit strange to me. The map reads much better as a struggle for power between the central asian powers rather than it does as a competition for those former soviet republics. An objective of holding all capitals or all terrorist groups seems better to me.
A huge amount of oil and gas reserves and even more importantly piplies are on the territories of these former republics. The struggle to control them is already going on between the US, Russia, Turkey, Iran, even China. I think having this as objective is both representing a reality and making the game more interesting: you dont have to kill everyone else - just control the centre of the map (figuratively and from oil gas and pipelines perspective). Again, I think this is entirely plausible and even real to a large extent, and we should have the latitude to do it unless from the gameplay point of view there is something drastically wrong with it.
Speaking of central asia... some of the territory names ought to reflect the actual counties, such as Uzbekistan or Tajikistan rather than the names you've given them.
Yes, I agree re: names of the four smaller republics as well as the caucasian ones. i want to have Kazachstan as a separate country (10 provinces), and the other four central asian republics and three caucasian republics as to smaller bonus giving units. need to check with pamoa too though and see it this can fit on the mini map.
I'm slightly concerned that each capital does not have somewhat fair access to metropolis' whereas other capitals have excellent access. For example, Riyad is no where near a metropolis but Ankara is two territories away from two (I'd suggest adding Cairo back in).
You will note that those countries with no access to a metropolis are countries with 8 to 10 territories, and with much lower neutral counts on the country's territories - a bit like New World. THe 6 territory countries compensate for fewer territories by havinf a metropolis right next to their capitals. Especially now that we will have country bonuses there will be an incentive for each player to get all his /her country's terrritories, and I want make sure the gameplay and bonuses remain relatively balanced between small and large countries.
The other major gameplay concern I have is that the starting points aren't equal in terms of opportunity and danger. Obviously a massive reorganization to make capitals equidistant would amount to ruining the map on par with Pelopennesian War's strange depiction of Classical Greece. A great balancer can be taken from Kabanellas' playbook and use the starting points at higher values and putting the rest of the map at random deployment (save for the metropolis, terrorists and unrest areas). I highly recommend you consider this.
Yes, we could put capitals to start at +4, which with the +3 autodeploy and +3 game bonus will bring total starting numbers at 10 units, just like New World.
I am totally against putting the rest of the map at random deployment. It would become an entirely differnt game from what we are trying to do here. This is a starting points game, where the build up is slower and the latitude of players much wider than spreading territories all over the map and letting the first 3 rounds pretty much decide the outcome. This way, each player has a capital and tries to build up its own country, then win by either objective or by outright victory. The bonuses are carfefully balanced so that they are roughly in balance. It's true that on a real map threats and opportunities are never exactly the same (as they can be on an imaginary map), but I think that is part of what makes this map interesting, and all other real maps as well. In any case, even random drops can give huge advantages to one player over another. This way, at least, the bonuses are pretty well balanced between larger and smaller countries, and we will use differnt neutral territory values )varying from 1 to 6) to make sure that's the case (again, a bit in New World style).
The US fleets seems a little strange to me and I think you know this already. After thinking about how you have them operating, I think I understand what you're going for. Why not have BOTH fleets attack the terrorists? Having them bomb the capitals seems strange given the fact that the US has not, to my knowledge, bombed any of the listed capitals on the map (obviously since Baghdad and Kabul are not capitals on the map). This would seem more in line with reality.
Again, we're talking future capabilities here instead of events already past. Kabul is indeed not a capital since Afghanistan was way to small to make a major power on its own, but we do have AFPAK with Islamabad - and can you honestly say the US could never bomb it, or Teheran? Sure, bombing the major powers capitals is a bit of a stretch in real life (Moscow, Beijing, even New Delhi), but that's why this is a what-if game, looking to the future, and not Napoleon 1812, which is strictly historical. From the gameplay point of view, it gives powers having no direct access to others the capability to disrupt them temporarily by knocking off their capitals. Think cyber-warfare, for example. Plus i think it makes the game more interesting to give each US fleet a differnt capability: one disrupts anyone wanting to win by controlling all terrorists, the other disrupts players going for Central Asia by knocking off their major troop supply (+3 autodeploy gone as well as the country /region bonus). The fact that they are killer neutrals means anyone can use them at any time provided they have the troops to conquer it and enough left to do serious damage. Again, this gives players more options instead of straightjacketing them in one game=pattern only.
Lastly, I'd like to see some change to the title... something about the name "The great game 2.0" just doesn't strike the mind with images of central asia.
As you know, "The Great Game" was the name given to the conflict between Russia and the UK for the control of Central Asia in the 19th Century: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Great_Game
Today, many talk about a "New Great Game" about great-powers' conflict in the same region:
Hence, "The Great Game 2.0" is a way to referring to a specfic historical era and actually give the new one a catchy label. In short, it actually means something historically, and is not a purely descriptive term (like : this is a great game... )
I hope you see what I'm going for here and take my suggestions under consideration. I think you can recreate the political dynamic of modern Central Asia quite well, but as it stands there are a few oddities that need to be addressed.
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